Sunday, April 20, 2008

I am a genius

I am a genius. Which is probably why I don't work for Microsoft support.

We had a dashboard update recently and my brother dain's system tank after he updated and rebooted. The first time he tried to update it stopped before it was over and gave him a message that he couldn't finish. The second time it worked but he was unable to get to the dashboard on his 360.

He called Microsoft and after talking to several different people they said he needed to send his console and power supply back to the repair shop. Needless to say this didn't make him very happy. This is a replacement system for his first console that got the red ring of death. He had a lot of problems with arcade games with the new console and he wasn't looking forward to that again with new console they might send him.

I met him at my parent's house on Saturday and after trying a few different combinations between his system and hard drive and my system and hard drive we still couldn't get anything to work on his console. Although his hard drive did work in my system. I asked him what happens when you format the hard drive since he's done it before. He told me that everything on the drive gets wiped out. I suggested he try that and see if it works. He moved his profile and some of his game saves that he didn't want to redo (like Portal) to a memory card and reformated the drive.

This is where I'm a genius.

It worked.

When he connected his hard drive back up to his system he could get to the dash board and log in. Something must have happened when the first update failed to finish that made it so when the second update finished it wouldn't recognize anything. And after I got a message from another friend today who hadn't been on in a couple of days it sounds like he might have had the same thing happen to him.

Why couldn't Microsoft figure this out? What ever happened to quality control? Don't they have someone who's job it is to try and break things so they know what's wrong with something so they can be prepared to fix it? I've been a tester on a new system at work. We were told to do everything we normally do and then to try things that we wouldn't normally do. We were suppose to run the program through the gambit of things that we might want it to do even if we never have the chance to do it. I then had to write up a report saying what I was trying to do, what I wanted it to do and what the system actually did. We're now using this system live for our work and although we didn't get the system to do everything we wanted there have been very little surprises when it comes to actually using it. For a computer company I would have thought that someone would have asked 'what will happen if the update fails to complete?' And then they could figure out a way to fix that. Like, I don't know . . . maybe reformating the hard drive perhaps.

It baffles me sometimes the level of quality control that goes into a lot of things, not just Microsoft and their Xbox 360. It's like 'just get the product out there' is the motto of some places. With games some are released way before they're ready. Their glitchy, unfinished and just plain difficult to play. Or maybe they promised you a certain game play feature would be included, like co-op or multiplayer and when the game's released it doesn't have it. I would rather wait much longer for a better polished and finished game than to have a poorly made game rushed to market to meet a deadline. Final Fantasy games are notorious for the "pushed back" deadline. They take their time to finish the game the way it should be. And it shows in the game play and loyalty the fans show for the series. Yes, we might grumble when the next game is pushed back month after mont or year after year but in the end it's worth it.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only smart person out here. I'd rather have quality than quantity. And I'd rather have a support and service team who knew what the problem might be because it's come up in testing. Just because they found a bug in testing doesn't necessarily mean it's going to come up in a live environment, but it's nice to know that someone has thought it through and come up with a solution. Otherwise we're left to people like me to be the geniuses in solving the problem and that could be a very scary thing for the rest of you.


Zenra Nukenin said...

It's like Shigeru Miyamoto said. "A late game is late until it's released, a bad game is bad forever."

And as far as Quality Control is concerned, you can just look at the Xbox web site to see how much Micro$oft cares about the consumer. On Mar 26th they uploaded a reformatted page and the general consensus is that it sucks! Especially having your Friends List spread over multiple pages. Almost a month of endless complaints later, and nothing has been changed.

P.S. I already knew you were a genius ;)

metallicorphan said...

look at the red rings of death,if MS put the 360 through some tough testing before it was released,i am sure they could of caught this,and instead it has cost the meeeelllleeeooooons

pengwenn said...

A developer can make up for being late with a good game but it has a harder time making up for a bad game.

I hate the new pages on they said it would make the system run faster and I guess it does. But I want to know who decided that speed was more important than functionality. Previously on the dashboard you could go straight to your messages. Now you have to access your friends list and tab over to the left to see your msgs. Hate it.

I hope Microsoft has learned their lesson. They wanted to be first with the next gen system and look what it got them. They should have looked at their Live environment and achievements and said this is what's going to push us ahead of the competition so we'll stay in development a little while longer. If they would have done that and released a non-crappy console there's no way the other companies would have been able to catch up unless they copied Microsoft's plan.